Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Archive Find: Dr. Gruver's Cure

Among the many fascinating documents found in the General Correspondence files of the PA Adjutant General, researchers can discover a variety of inventors and entrepreneurs wishing to sell their ideas and wares to the Commonwealth during wartime.  One such letter, while rather ordinary at first glance, offers us a.....stimulating look into the world of Civil War era medical treatments. 

Danville Sept 15. / 62

To his excellency A. G. Curtin Gov. of Pa

Enclosed find a card to which we humbly invite your attention.  There are many soldiers who are confined to the Hospitals for weeks and months whom I am quite confident I could cure in a few days and thus restore to their ranks.  There are some now in the field whom I have cured of maladies which were incurable by every other known remedy.  The reason I desire a commission to practice is because I can do more good in this way than in any other, but should my proposition not be advisable I am ready to serve in any other capacity where I can be serviceable most. 

Respectfully your humble [servant]

Dr. W. F. Gruver
                                    Montour [County]

Unfortunately, the card which Dr. Gruver sent along to Governor Curtin, and which apparently detailed his miracle cure, is no longer with his letter.  Thankfully on the outside of the letter, someone, probably a staff member in the Adjutant General's office, wrote a brief note summarizing the reason for the good doctor's letter. 
To Gov Curtin
[Dr. Gruver] Thinks he can cure all sick soldiers by electricity

It's unclear whether Pennsylvania took Dr. Gruver up on his offer, but one can imagine that a few "doses" would send any sick soldier sprinting for the front, cured or not.  

Gruver, Dr. W. F.,  Letter to Gov. of Pennsylvania, September 15, 1862. Pennsylvania State Archives, Record Group 19, Office of the Adjutant General, Series 19.29, General Correspondence.